November 22, 2014

Sheriff’s Department first Arenac County interest to benefit from stimulus package

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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ARENAC COUNTY — On Friday, March 6, it was announced by Congressman Bart Stupak’s (D – Menominee) office that Arenac County law enforcement will receive $13,929 from the nearly $800 billion economic stimulus package passed by Congress last month.

“It can be used for any type of law enforcement,” said Arenac County Sheriff Jim Mosciski, adding he is still working on figuring out the best way to spend the grant monies. “I’m going to have a meeting with the sergeants here and see what they decide, and probably meet with the chairman of the board (of commissioners).”

He says the sergeants he refers to are supervisors of the road patrol and jail division of the sheriff’s department. The chairman of the board is District II Commissioner Raymond Daniels.

Mosciski also said the government funds may help play a small role fulfilling the president’s wishes to create or maintain jobs.

“I’m looking at possibly using some of this money to carry Rachel (Vallad), the school liaison officer,” he said, adding he is also considering using the grant to move an employee from part-time to full-time status.

However, Mosciski says the funds may go towards equipment updates rather than personnel.

“I know that our server’s getting loaded down here,” he said.

According to a press release from Stupak, the grant was part of the Department of Justice’s Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program and supports the stimulus package’s goal of economic recovery by helping police departments avoid trimming personnel.

“As our local law enforcement agencies confront layoffs as a result of budget shortfalls it is important that we provide this funding to keep cops on the street in our communities,” Stupak said.

In all, the press release says Michigan law enforcement will be injected with $67 million as part of the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program funding in the economic recovery legislation.

In other sheriff’s department news, the search for government funding hasn’t stopped with the awarding of the stimulus grant.

According to Mosciski, a Department of Homeland Security grant to purchase new dive team equipment has passed the state level and is being reviewed by the department on a federal level.

He adds he is also considering applying for a “Cops Fast Grant” that will pay a new officer 100 percent of his or her wages for three years.

“The stipulation with that is in the fourth year, you have to pick up that person full time,” Mosciski said, adding this is often geared more towards larger departments to replace personnel nearing retirement age, but that its 100 percent funding for three years may make it worthwhile for the sheriff’s department to pursue it. In the past, Mosciski said the program required 25 percent of the costs for the new officer be provided upfront with a local match, which would be difficult at this time, but now eligible departments are free of paying for three years.

“You’ve got to read the grants to see what the cost factor is,” Mosciski said. “My biggest thing is to look at percentages to see what it’s going to cost the county.”

This story was reported on arenacindependent.com on March 9.

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